Well, here is where I came up with all this. In my research and reading the finishes they used back when were not durable. Hence the browning on period guns. I have looked at a number of contemporary guns that were browned and I'm not a big fan. Can't say why, just not my cup of pickles. Now the older guns that I have seen, most at the Lewisburg show, I like how they look after a century or two of use. So I have come to this decision:
I will never be able to produce a rifle that will have a period correct finish. After all we are making contemporary reproductions of period pieces. I would rather start off with something that is similar to what would have "walked out the door" a couple centuries ago than to make something that everyone expects, but I don't care for. That is what brought me to the cold blue. When not applied properly it is not very durable, I know I've done it. But it does still provide some nice darkening to the metal. At that point I'll let it go it's natural course and get the patina it would get through usage. The key to what I'm looking at is I don't want anything like what we get today. I'm not looking to go really dark, just enough... It's hard to explain.
My only question mark was to leave it bare metal. I can see that being uneven and potentially pitting or going too far. I doubt I'm going to go this route, but who knows. I am rather disappointed in this boat paddle right now due to some issues I created, and failed to notice before beginning.
Just like everything I do I've got to be special. Maybe not special good, but just special.
Remember, shoot straight and shoot often.
Good... Bad... I'm the guy with the gun.